BusinessBanking/FinanceNew Naira Notes: Scarcity Bites As CBN Names Banks As Swap Agents

New Naira Notes: Scarcity Bites As CBN Names Banks As Swap Agents

Fidelity Bank Plc

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has designated five commercial banks in the country as operators of its cash swap programme, the Punch reports.

The Godwin Emefiele-led apex bank had, on Monday, kicked off the programme in line with its aim to phase out the old naira notes of N200, N500, and N1000 by January 31, 2023.

The cash swap programme, financial analysts said may be the CBN latest reaction to public complaint that the new naira notes are not being well circulated.

Two weeks ago, the CBN directed commercial banks to stop on-the-counter payment of the new bank notes to customers, while also urging the banks to load their ATMs with the new currency.

While some banks have so far complied, others have continued to load the ATMS with old banknotes in violation of CBN order, a situation many described as a deliberate plot by some banks to frustrate the naira redesigned policy.

But banks, have also absolved themselves of blame citing for instance, that they have not been allocated enough new notes by the CBN,

Therefore, not a few watching the unraveling scenario insist that the CBN may have decided to move with the speed of light, to ensure that the new banknotes are well circulated, particularly in rural areas before the deadline expires in a week.

According to the document released by the government bank, money agents of POS operators can now collect old naira notes from customers which they in turn exchanged for next notes in designated banks.
The commercial banks are Zenith Bank, Aceess Bank, UBA, First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, and First City Monument Bank, FCMB.

In order to forestall abuse, the CBN said only registered POS operators can participate, while it has also excluded POS operators in Lagos and Abuja from the programme.

“Not all agents can participate. This is open to only selected agents profiled by the super agent/MMO/bank and submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria and participating banks (Access, Zenith, UBA, First, FCMB),” CBN said.

“Selected agents in all the 36 states (except Lagos state and FCT, Abuja). Lagos and Abuja agents are excluded from this.”

It was  also learnt that the agents are restricted from using the new notes for their regular transactions, only for the programme.

The apex bank said to qualify an agent “must have a bank account with that bank and your operators (super agent/MMO/bank) will have pre-registered you with the bank where you have an account.”

It added, “you must go to the bank you have informed operator (super agent/MMO/bank) of. That is where your agent details will be submitted to for verification when you get there to collect the new notes.”

Also, each agent’s name, BVN number, and operator’s name are required before the new notes will be released.

The document added that the bank would also verify the agent’s picture and finger print.

The document also noted that an agent is expected to have a record of the customer’s Know-Your-Customer information, which includes name, phone number, bank, account number and amount.

Meanwhile, the CBN did not put a lid on how much a customer can deposit, regardless only N10,000 new notes is expected to be released per customer while excess cash will be deposited in old or new bank account of customers in line with the apex bank’s cashless policy.

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